We all long to experience a sense of inner wholeness and guidance, but today's notions of healing and recovery too often keep us focused on our brokenness, on our deficiencies rather than our strengths. Wayne Muller's luminous new book gently guides us to the place where we are already perfect, already blessed with the wisdom we need to live a life of meaning, purpose and grace.
He starts, as do so many spiritual teachers, with simple questions: Who am I? What do I love? How shall I live, knowing I will die? What is my gift to the family of the earth? He then takes us deeper, exploring each question through transformative true stories. We meet men and womenWayne's neighbors, friends, patientswho have discovered love, courage, and kindness even in the midst of sorrow and loss. And through them we glimpse that relentless spark of spiritual magic that burns within each of us.
Woven throughout are contemplations, daily practices, poems, and teachings from the great wisdom teachings. Page by page, we become more awake to the joy and mystery of this precious human life, and to the unique gifts every one of us has to offer the world.
"It is not the act but the awareness, the vitality, and the kindness we bring to our work that allows it to become sacred," proclaims Muller (Legacy of the Heart, 1992), the therapist who founded Bread for the Journey, a charitable organization in New Mexico. In this gentle work, Muller assures us that pain and sorrow need not leave us broken but, instead, can break us open to a deeply felt life. He asks four basic questions: "Who am I?"; "What do I love?"; "How shall I live, knowing I will die?"; "What is my gift to the family of the Earth?" His answers unfold through advice illustrated with numerous stories of people finding joy and peace in simple pleasures and human companionship. One man at the end of a terminal illness stumbles outside to feel the sun on his face; his ecstasy reminds Muller of how "quickly... beautiful things become commonplace" if we don't honor both "our sorrow and our joy," as the man apparently did. Someone buys a cookie for a stranger; another cooks a meal for a friend. Gifts need not be ostentatious, Muller shows, to embody a fruitful spirituality. In this wise and comforting book, Muller, by delving beyond jargon and theory, offers a glimpse into the heart of living well. (July)